While I’m really digging my new iPhone 5 (it’s so sleek!) and I do appreciate working online, I must say that I have a penchant for good old fashioned paper. For sticky notes and index cards, for well-designed wall calendars and fun, collaged vision boards. And for really great notebooks.
I’ve been a long-time fan of Levenger, especially their Circa Notebooks (which are super functional and flexible) so you can bet I was thrilled by the opportunity to partner with them to make a Right-Brain Business Plan® Circa Notebook. Our collaborative product just launched this week and I my first batch arrived the other day. Exciting! Also available now is creative cohort and past Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit speaker Todd Henry’s Circa Idea Notebook, another great resource.
I’m not the only one who appreciates analog. Recently, I was coaching a client on a creative project near and dear to her heart. However, when it came to one major action item that involved getting on the computer and processing images, her energy got heavy and heady.
What lights her up is engaging with her art and working with her hands, so to help her ease into the task we gave her permission to work in the physical realm first before going digital. Ahh, the sigh of relief!
In his fantastic book Steal Like an Artist, writer and artist Austin Kleon talks about how he bounces between analog and digital. During the creative process Austin advises us to “step away from the screen” and “find a way to bring your body into your work.” I couldn’t agree more.
I enjoy the convenience of reading on my iPad however when it comes to inspiring my muse, nothing beats holding and experiencing a real book, especially one that’s bursting with colorful images.
For idea generation and planning, I love starting with paper, sticky notes, markers, index cards, Circa notebooks, and art supplies. The tactile, hands-on nature allows me to get messy and engage with my thoughts in a more tangible way. The process feels more open and malleable, which is great for the start of a project. Awhile back I wrote about some of my favorite right-brain planning tools here.
Then when I’m ready to structure, hone, edit, or implement my ideas, I typically will transition to the computer. I like that it’s easier to search for key words, manipulate information, and refine and track my content.
And then often times I’ll circle back to analog. I’ll print out what I’ve been working on so that I can I hold it in my hands, write notes in the margins, cross things out, and further finesse. It just makes the final version feel more “real.”
I do the analog/digital dance with calendars, too. When I’m initially mapping out a project, I need to see a physical calendar right in front of me in order for any of the milestone dates to make sense. Once I braindump and move my sticky notes around, things get clearer. And when I’m ready to lock in the dates, I like having them plugged into my Google calendar so I can block off work-time, stay on top of my schedule, and get sent appointment reminders. Once big to-do’s are done, I love walking over to my calendar and drawing a big, fat checkmark! Curious about how I use my wall calendar? In the first part of this video I share my right-brain system.
Do you prefer analog or digital? Or both? I’d love to hear about your favorite real-life or virtual tools and how you use them.
By the way, I’ll be interviewing Levenger founder, Steve Leveen, via Livestream on Tuesday, October 23rd at 1pm PT (sign-up here to get a reminder). Levenger provides tools (both the old fashioned and new tech types) for serious readers and they’re celebrating their 25th anniversary this month.
I can’t wait to ask Steve about how he grew his business over the years and also his take on the whole analog vs. digital debate. Hope you can join us!